Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Book Review: So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba

So we are just going to jump right into the good stuff and ignore the little now-you-see-me, now-you-don't situation I have going on in the blogosphere.

First up, let's not get things twisted I have been reading. I'll Give You The Sun was ah-mazing, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was cute and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey is, well not my usual. Don't fret, one word descriptions of whole books will not be the norm I just happened to outdo myself in the procrastination department. Well, what do you know, the P word just crept in. Basically, the review of the first two books will go up because I can't live with myself if they don't.

Now that I have aired all my dirty laundry in front of you, the real good stuff.

In a effort to redeem myself from this putting the 'pro' in the procrastination phase, I read So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba borrowed from my good friend Lena. She happens to hold this read and author very highly. Obviously, any literary fave of a friend's is a literary fave of mine, okay, maybe not but you get the picture.

There's something about African Writers, maybe it's the way they make you slow down and force you to stop and smell the roses or whatever aroma that takes you to that special place or how their imagery is so rich and the language so distant from my level, at least. Their sentences are short, but tell a whole story and the repetition is everything but tacky. Aren't or aren't I describing the perfect book?

Meet Ramatoulaye recently widowed first wife of Modou. While she is in mourning she writes her best friend who might as well be her sister, Aissatou, a letter that recounts her life just before and after Modou's death, a long, long letter hence the title, I guess.

Ramatoulaye starts from the beginning working her way back to find the way forward. We follow her as she goes through all phases of grief. Going back and forth in between them, surpassing some, dominating in others but healing nonetheless.

While reading it, it was almost as if, I was invading her privacy. Feeling every inch of her pain especially when she thinks less of herself. You are in her anguish, despair and regret. But because you can't change the past you read on just as Aissatou would.

The source of it all Modou. Just when you are about to start baying for his already cold blood she appeases you, telling you of Modou of the yester-years, described as a god of some sort.

Each turn of a page is like pealing of the seal of another secret, and you thought you knew intense.

Even as she is down on her luck the way she portrays  nearly every woman, in this book you just might understand her inferiority complex. A phoenix rising from the ashes was redefined by Aissatou; braver, stronger, tougher than all her problems. She and no chills Daba earn themselves a spot on my literary bad ass babes.

Finding her balance amidst this whirlwind of emotions is no easy task yet she still manages to be critically realistic. Not driven by intuition or emotion she manages to make the right decision. Not always the one you are rooting for but right nonetheless.

This book makes you want to read and re-read some of its texts over and over again. For a better understanding , not really, for a highly deserved appreciation probably. It is for the divorcee, widow, sugar-daddy and his young love interest especially his young love interest, for families left behind, for those who grieve. For the men it's the ultimate anti-douche guide. Hold your horses now, Ramatoulaye doesn't throw around the "men are dogs" mentality, if anything , she throws the most respectable shade ever. For ladies, super therapeutic as a How-to guide if ever your relationship goes down the drain.

Now I am scared. Of happily ever afters, marriage and possibilities but most of all, having daughters. All will be revealed once you read it.

What takes this book up there? Ramatoulaye takes you into each character's mind, exploring their thoughts, picking them because rants simply don't do it anymore. No man or should I say contentious issue is left behind especially when the right button is pushed.

Do your future a favour and pick up this book!

Have a good one!   

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Surviving College: Holiday Memories

'Sup guys!

It's only the first week of school and I am just about ready to tap out. Or it's just a severe case of holiday withdrawals. What better way to get over it than looking back on the period that was. These are just a couple of highlights that made it memorable; the good, the bad and the neutral.

Nairobi floods. It seemed like just another rainy evening. Myself indoors nice, warm and toasty. If only everyone else could have sung that same tune. Traffic jams that lasted until four a.m and power outages that lasted even longer. I guess it would be safe to say that since then Nairobi has learnt a valuable lesson on the importance of maintaining the city's drainage system. Well, hopefully. But still, what a way to kick start the holidays, huh?

Driving license. Guess who can now be legally behind the wheel cruising at a few kilometers per hour? This girl! Yes I may be two years too late on this bandwagon but I finally got round to it. I would love to say that my skills give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money but it is what it is. There was also the driving test from hell which I may or may not write about. Probably will. All in all , homie we made it!

Posting  three times a week. The month of May would have had you thinking that blogging was my full time job. Posts three times a week, quality posts, somebody call the fire department because I was on fire; Media Monday, Surviving College, Book Reviews, didn't I spoil y'all or what? Well that fire was put out soon after,  be careful what you wish for.

Internships. I had two in four months, talk about a personal best. Of course there will be more in depth posts but this is what you guys you should know; it was the best of both world with one being the liberal artsy environment  and the other the traditional 'profesh' situation plus I learned a tonne from both. This may be my very definition of productivity.

Interviews. In a span of four months I had two interviews. This little experience here taught me a little something about preparation. No stones were left unturned and I sure wasn't about to disappoint my foyn self. It is at this point that I feel like a post dedicated to acing an interview should be in the works, yup, I'll go ahead and put it on my to-do list. That being besides the point, I aced one of them and tanked in the other...until I got a call back from the one that I was supposedly 'unsuccessful' in. Take that failure! That just goes to show what putting yourself out there gets you.

Goals. Especially for my blog I was aiming for nothing but the stars. 36 books were to be read; let me break it down. Two books read a week, 18 posted while on holiday and the other half scheduled for the last quarter of the year. A couple of sewing, knitting and crafting D-I-Y's, find bae, walk down the aisle, start a family, buy my first home. You follow? Yup nearly none of that happened but it still makes for a good laugh.

Other cool stuff: my sister's graduation. YAAASS! She sure showed college, slight obsessions with summer 2015 music playlists, joining HerCampus. retweets from Marcus Hanley by far #1 cool kid from where I stand, Jay Aysher and MTv Africa Music Award (MAMA) Best Pop and Alternative Act 2015 Jeremy Loops.

Little story for you. I have been continuously convincing myself that I was the first to congratulate Mr. Loops on his MAMA win. Him favouriting my tweet had me on cloud 9. It doesn't end there.Well with Jeremy Loops it does. JSomething from Mi Casa mentioned my little old self  in a comment on Instagram. Might as well kick this degree to the curb and be some type of social media guru!

Not convinced that I'd make one heck of a social media guru? Now y'all know in my head, Jack and Finn Harries are my woes. So when I made it into the What do you believe in? video, I knew they felt the same way. Girl in the white sweater with pandas across it, reppin' the 2-5-4 at 0:42, that's me. My clip is only a second long but I always thought fifteen minutes of fame was a little too long anyway.

Yup, as I suspected a walk down memory lane was the perfect cure to holiday withdrawals.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Road Trip

I'm alive! I'm alive! If you had a doubt in your mind that I had been wiped off the face of the earth, I am still kicking it!

Besides working like a dog, I popped in and out of the city of Nairobi for a second, literally. Travelled out on Friday and I was back in a heartbeat on Sunday morning. To be precise, 4 a.m. That was my sister's "bright" idea.

Why the impromptu road trip you ask?Well, my Grandma Mildred passed. This past year has been a tough one for my family. Hopefully, if I find the courage, I may do a post dedicated to all the family members who are no longer with us. But, mark my words, this funeral was a celebration of life, which Granny deserved by all means. Whoo! I'm getting a little misty eyed here.

Again, mark my words, in my culture, funerals tend to be the definition of dramatic. Even that may be a bit of an understatement. We go all out; professional mourners, singing, boogying until dawn (the wake) there's some some significance behind it, I forget, church service after church service. Emotion wise we give mood swings a legit run for their money. What can I say it's tradition.

As I said we travelled Friday.Nearly missing our bus by a whisker. A very valuable lesson was learnt, sometimes paying a pretty penny for a cab trumps saving money. Learnt that the hard way. But what momma don't know, momma don't need to know. Except if she reads this post  that entire statement goes up in  flames. It is one thing to roll up fashionably late and it is another to roll up like we did; backpacks that outweighed us, unravelling sleeping bags (mine, figures) and carry-ons packed with your usual road trip tidbits, plus a book...of course. We were a sight for sore eyes nearly every stare asking whether there was some sort of evacuation where we were coming from.

Now the title of this blog post is highly misleading. Honestly it was my version of an apology for my blog hiatus that lasted slightly over a week. If anything it will probably be a visual story. My photography levels were pretty bomb considering I have no legit photography  skills or camera. Imma go ahead and pat myself on the back.

Feast  your eyes on the sites that make up my beautiful country.

P.S. They could have been more breathtaking scenes i.e fir tree forests but I could not whip out my camera fast enough. Yet I still want to be a photojournalist.

 If ever you are in Kenya and are doing the tourist thing, you've gotta stop here (Great Rift Valley Viewpoint) and take it all in. In the distance is Menengai Crater, a mountain (my geography is not what it used to be) and on the floor, further in the distance is a geothermal power plant.
 Lake Nakuru. If I was any better at this photography thing, you may have seen the flamingos.

 'Cause you gotta fill your car boot with groceries.

This is the money shot.

 Kenya is among the top 10 tea producing nations in the world. Welcome to the original home of what may be your heaven in a cup, Kericho.

This post would not be complete without letting you know of my sister's "bright" idea. Do not get me wrong, I love this girl but when we were on that night bus, my feelings towards her... we nearly froze to death! Okay, maybe not, but those below zero temperatures hit past the bone to the very core of my being. The whole point was to come see her play which she produced  *three cheers for my sister* but if that was the price we had to pay...it ain't happening ever again.

Oh well, until next time.

Have a good one!